2018 Phillip Island MotoGP Race Result: There Were No Pigs Flying

After the minor nightmare of qualifying, the news of cloudless skies would have been music to riders’ ears. And then the actual music started and it was a chaotic recital. The man who thoroughly enjoyed listening to the anthem from the top spot of the podium ended up being Maverick Viñales, the Spaniard finally putting an end to Yamaha’s winless streak at the 26th try. Viñales showed them how it’s done with a runaway victory ahead of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, the two archenemies keeping themselves entertained throughout the race.

Ultimately, all the favourites were there with one major omission. Poleman Marc Marquez had a challenging start, dropping like a stone after turn one, much like eventual victor Viñales, while Danilo Petrucci took himself out of contention with a rodeo moment at the Southern Loop while running first. The home fans were delighted early on as Jack Miller picked up the lead by the end of lap one but Marquez was making up places at a fast rate after his early mistake.

Marquez got the better of the home hero into turn one the second time around and Dovizioso took the invitation past Miller as well, the Italian making a lightning start out of his worst qualifying position this season. Iannone, Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi and Johann Zarco followed the leaders closely, while Viñales was still working – albeit slowly – to recover from tenth position.

Presumably having learned his lesson from the past two races, Dovizioso was not too keen to take the lead but that left him vulnerable to Iannone’s advances. Right behind the duo, Miller and Zarco were swapping paint and after the Australian picked up the Frenchman, he set his sights on the Suzuki ahead. Despite Miller and Iannone getting involved in a dicey exchange, it did not allow the two leaders to escape and Miller was soon on their tail. Marquez left the door open soon after and Dovizioso and Miller made it past on lap five.

At the start of the next lap, Zarco crashed quite spectacularly after he clipped the back of Marquez into turn one at 280km/h and luckily both escaped injury but the damage to the world champion’s bike was too big for him to continue, the entire seat unit nearly detached and his rear tyre damaged. While replays of the monster crash / race incident played on a loop, Viñales was craving his spotlight back as he advanced through the field at a rapid pace and picked up the lead by lap eight. That spurred teammate Rossi on as well, the Italian picking up Dovizioso soon after but Viñales got almost a full second in hand only one lap later and took off at the front.

Halfway through proceedings, Viñales was two seconds clear of his teammate, while Alvaro Bautista was pulling off a decent Lorenzo impression, six tenths back on the Yamaha leaders and ahead of teammate Dovizioso. Iannone was the last man hanging on to the chasing pack while teammate Rins dropped a second back together with Miller.

Status quo was broken at the start of lap 16, when both Ducatis got past Rossi but the 2.5 seconds gap to Viñales seemed like a more difficult mission for the Italian rockets. Iannone followed suit soon after and engaged in battle with Rossi. With ten laps to go, Dovizioso saw that Viñales was slipping away further and made it past his temporary teammate in order to lead the chase. It made little difference to the gap but the rest of the lead group kept us entertained for the next few laps. Iannone made yet another mistake in turn four and Rossi had the all clear to attack Dovizioso but the tango continued and the Ducatis surged ahead once more. Meanwhile, Rins quietly caught up with the leaders and was nipping at Rossi’s heels.

When Iannone found a brilliant way around Dovizioso, it looked like a good chance for second at best but with three laps to go, Iannone saw the gap to Viñales drop from four to two seconds. If Viñales had any concerns, Dovizioso interfered as he smelled blood and started hounding Iannone. It was eventually a thankless task, Iannone keeping second over the line.

Bautista took the checkered flag two seconds later, in a well deserved fourth position. Rins took fifth away from Rossi on the final lap, after the Italian ran wide at turn six. Home boy Miller brought home seventh place as top independent rider, while Franco Morbidelli’s best result of the season in eight was both top Honda and top rookie. Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith brought Aprilia and KTM to the top ten party.

While the recently crowned world champion failed to finish a race for the first time since Silverstone last year and continued his post-title Phillip Island curse, Dovizioso strengthened second position in the championship ahead of Rossi.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 40'51.081
2 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +1.543
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +1.832
4 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +4.072
5 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +5.017
6 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +5.132
7 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +6.756
8 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +21.805
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +22.904
10 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +22.940
11 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +34.386
12 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +35.025
13 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia +36.348
14 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +36.389
15 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +44.214
16 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda +48.226
17 81 Jordi TORRES Ducati +1'04.965
18 7 Mike JONES Ducati +1'19.817
    Not Classified    
  44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 5 Laps
  55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha 9 Laps
  26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 16 Laps
  93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 22 Laps
  5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha 22 Laps
Round Number: 
17
2018
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Comments

Another exciting MotoGp race from one of the best circuits on the calendar.

Great result for Maverick Vinales! It's hard to tell how good the Yamaha is because V.R.46 doesn't ride at 100 %.

I feel like I've seen Marquez pull across on people in the braking zone before. All the way back to 125s and Moto2. Today he can plausibly say that he didn't know Zarco was there. But he keeps doing it. And this is early in the race with the leading pack bunched up. If Marquez had continued in a straight line and left 0.5m to the edge of the track, the crash wouldn't have happened. In my mind, that makes it Marquez's fault and dangerous riding. Unfair?

Have you read what the riders said, or watched replays, or seen other races before? Zarco appologized and they both agree it was an incident. Case closed. Don’t be a hater.

I hate to feed a troll, but I also enjoy this sort of  thing* so "Zarco crashed quite spectacularly after he clipped the back of Marquez"

* calling out total idiots

I will of course include a detailed analysis of this in my race round up, but it's obvious it was a racing incident. Marquez had the line, Zarco was being sucked forward by a double slipstream. There was no one there when Marquez moved, Zarco ran into the back of Marquez. If you really insisted on assigning blame, then you would have say it was more on Zarco than on Marquez, but in reality, this is just the consequence of very close racing at very fast speeds. 

These two are fine w each other obviously. And so can all of us. Me and Apical are friends, and once in a while he speaks with emotion. And beer.

It was a fantastic moment, a mistake on Zarco's part (wearing his jersey as I write this), and he needs to be a bit more careful such that he can be as seasoned a rider as Vale and Dovi.

No problems here. The business was wrapped up in Japan. Todo es bien para mi amigo Marc. Ill mio amato eroe sta esibendosi meravigliosamente su una moto mal ordinata e ha il mio cuore.

Todo es bien. Zarco is safe. Marc didn't eat a stale Yamaha. Moving forward then...

You are assigning blame to MM for that.  He didnt move accross aggressively, and no more than anyone else did in the race.  He wasnt overtaking anyone, and it is highly unusual for someone to attemp to overtake around the outside going into turn one.  not impossible, but highly unlikely.  No way MM moved over to block anyone, and as David Emmett, a racing incident, with maybe Zarco the one slighlty more to blame than MM as he braked a little too late after being sucked into a double draft.  Zarco actually said this.

What was great was the sportsmanship that BOTH riders showed after the incident.  It would be fair to say that there a few few other riders at the top of MotoGP that would have been Blamestorming left, right and centre.

Bautistas performance today.... What does that mean? He pushed beyond 100%? Ducati is really good package, that it's not just Dovi magic always?

Really want to see Miller or Pecco  grow up to take championship on that Ducati in couple of years. 

This bike, best on the grid! Big deal that.

And Beautista is wonderfully fast, albeit not so consistent. His future in SBK is bright. It won't be easy to sort the new V4 Panigale, and this guy CAN. Look out Chas! And Kawasaki.

As has been stated it was a racing incident, circumstances coming together to create the accident. If blame was to be given though it's always been my understanding that it's the rider who is behind who needs to avoid the rider in front. 

Well... It was very unfortunate that both Marquez and Zarco were out, and it was a damn pity that poor Bezzecchi was  taken out once again. What a shame!

The Zarco/MM incident was just that, a racing incident. But i also think that zarco was too aggressive and from the start and im not 100% sure it was just a matter of double slipstream. I have the impression he thought for a second to do a "por fuera" move and pass on the outside. And then disaster happened. And yes MM went slighty wider than his ideal line, he is not the first nor the last to do it. Maybe in his case i would inderlline a tendency to consider the track as empty space with no one around. Given his talent he manages to save almost every bad situation.

A disappoonting Dovi left me wondering: does he have the real stuff to win a championship? I mean the championship is done and dusted no need to overthink and strategize...  He almost lost to Bautista, the guy who just discovered the gp18...

Kudos to Vinales he was fast and smart enough to pull away at the right moment... And i wonder with a few more laps if he would have managed to fend off Iannone charge (i have not listened to the press conference yet i don't know if at the end he was controling the gap or Iannone was way faster...) does this mean that Yamaha is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Don't think so.

 

his joy was obvious. And he and Ramon Forcada embraced a number of times in parc ferme, that was heart-warming as well. You could tell MV had a good feeling with the bike, charging to the front in the early laps after another bad start.

Have Yamaha turned the page? Too early (and too late in the season) to tell. I suspect you are right when you say you don't think so, but the 2018 season is coming to a close very soon. The proof will be a quick 2019 bike.

Don't be too disappointed in Dovi though. Last year he was 13th and 21.69s behind the victor, with Scott Redding the first Ducati in 11th and 21.65 seconds adrift. So I would say there's been a substantial improvement at a bogey track for him and Ducati?

Congratulations as well to Alvaro Bautista. I wonder whose settings he was using? (edit: That sounds a bit snarkey, but it wasn't intended to be. Congratulations to him, he did great and it's an honest question. If he came up with the settings on his own, all the more praise I need to heap on him!)

Hey used Jorges settings and changed his riding style to suit. He said Jorge uses his lower body a lot while he uses his arms more so that was the one thing he was worried about adapting to over the weekend.  If you looked closely he rode very similar to Jorge on the Duc with much more lean angle and body out positioning than Dovi.

Stellar ride from Alvaro and it makes me excited for WSK since many years!

The Sun was out at P.I., and so was a Marquez that was getting good challenge. Want to see a good example of character? Marc after "understanding that you go for the draft, glad we are ok, racing incident and keep on going in the same way" for Zarco. If you still "boo" Marquez on the podium, your visor is tinted Yellow unnecessarily. My love for Rossi needn't be disrupted in my love for our wonderful Marquez. Easier for me perhaps being neither Italian nor Spanish, but just look at the good graces.

VERY glad our friends Zarco and Marc are both ok. 200mph off at that corner entrance is not in any way safe. Hungry Zarco, careful buddy! Your 2016 chassis base and hybrid bin parts Herve special on Soft-Soft? That garage can do the business. The knife fighter was cut by his own blade in the alley fight.

Yamaha is back. They are through their corner, and are coming back. The Ducati, this motor is SO strong of course, but this bike manages tires well and is plenty maneouverable. We can no longer btw say that the Duc doesn't go well in Australia. The 2018 Red bike gets flipped-flopped just fine thank you, and is still as stable on the brakes as you could hope.

KTM has Kallio, Smith AND Pedrosa developing. Our commentators are rude in saying "Pedro to KTM Test, WHY?!" Why? Wonderful resources in a young nubile program. Perfect for the good old bridesmaid. Do you really think a brand ambassador position under ex mentor Puig looks like time well spent? Have you noticed how satisfied or even comfortable Dani has looked in Pressers lately? If he isn't more interested in fishing, V8 cars, or babies and barbecue, what do you do for full out GP track time? With your old mentor that wants your gifts? Respect Pedrosa folks. When you push a bike up on to the fat part of the tire very early to get on the gas as early as possible...pushing the bike up and away from you, feathering the gas to run the bike out to the exit point...are you with me on "doing a Pedrosa?" The mighty might has excelled wrestling the bucking bronco of a Honda masterfully all these years. The KTMs were 7th and 8th early on, nice start. P.Espargaro did not do what Smith did. He may not be fully fit btw. But the future is bright in Orange. Smith top 10. Same for our underappreciated A.Espargaro ahead in 9th on wee lovely Aprilia (have you ridden the RSV4? So nice!).

The crash rate is coming down sharply on the Honda. The 2015-2016 HRC machine needed a frequent diet of gravel. The Suzuki is on solid display with both "shiny balls" seagull popping Iannone and our rising star Rins. Witness the Hayshed Section in which conventional handling well balanced motorcycles can excel. And Zarco. Iannone is unquestionably gifted...we can ask ourselves what has held him back? Ego. Something is between him and his potential, and it is his own "self." The story of me and the world narrative, so cocky. He has plenty of heart, but there is something called "Me" between him and using his head. Aprilia gets a very strong rider, but he is also expensive to keep "happy." If the Suzuki can grab a bit more power on the top end without losing tractibility lower in the range, Rins and Co may look even stronger. But this day, it is all about the Yamaha project. End of their longest win drought. Relief.

Hats off to AB19 making hay with his factory hams upgrade. He makes me nervous when he seems out of his depth...we have seen a few accidents collecting others, haven't we? Not today - clean as you'd like. Professor Dovi podium? 50th podium. Solid. Bagnia comes next year, and Ducati looks secure even in losing Jorge and his ham appetite. We must mention home track young astronaut Miller, the kid looks great. Nothing between him and Petrucci this year eh? No Troy this time amidst the Ducati seat shuffle, but his last MotoGP win stands as a heroic achievement. And his son Ollie? He won the 300Supersport race here just now!!

Old clever badger Valentino can still do the business around P.I. on Sunday on THIS Yamaha. Vinales can too, within a slightly smaller performance window, as conditions offerred. Rins was good to pip 46. The Yamaha managed tires just fine. Forcada, Jarvis, very pleased.

European (Italy) based test team. Full factory Satellite Petronas SIC bike for Morbidelli, you know who from Moto2 dividing and quartering a 2018 Tech3 hybrid bike with plenty of data. Wait, just wait, until you see the 2019 Yamaha. Motor fixed. Electronics better tossed. Honda/Ducati salad dressing secondary electronics sensors are done as we close the season. Shifting bike balance rearward is well in Factory Yamaha's toolbox familiarity. Let the rider move around more rearward to ride the rear as well as ths front, lengthen the bike a tad, make the bike pivot around the rear a tad. Zarco can slide this bike on the gas and has been for a few years. Rossi, Maverick, and Morbidelli can all feel at home on the next Yamaha we are soon to see.

Vinales, he chose the soft front and Vale did not. Coming over Lukey Heights both riders made full use of this bike, did you watch Maverick carving this bike on the race line alone? Nearly Jorge like, leading out front alone. Vale is as beautiful a racer as we can hope for. And we can celebrate the Spaniard having his day.

P.I. 2017 is my favorite race in a VERY long time. 2018 was no snoozer, just watched it 3 times in a row. The battles were many and complex. Viva MotoGP

I tend to be biased against Marquez. I mention this bias because some may accuse me of a pro-Marquez bias when they read the paragraph below. Nothing could be further from the truth.       

Marquez was not in any way to blame for the crash. Zarco came into that corner very hot, and even if there had not been a crash, I doubt Zarco could have made the corner in a good way. Zarco needs to use better judgement in the future, or there is a significant risk of something terrible happening. Something terrible could easily have happened this time, but luckily it didn't.

The response Marquez had to the crash, when he was asked about it on camera, was incredibly classy. Many riders would have been angry or visibly agitated, but Marquez showed a level of calm that is remarkable, and worthy of respect even from those who are not Marquez fans.

Yamaha's win was in large part due to circumstances. If Marquez had not been taken out, Marquez would certainly have won the race, barring equipment failure. I don't think it is accurate to say "Yamaha is back", at least not in the sense that Yamaha will be challenging at the front from now on. The next few races will give us a more accurate indication.

I'd like to know more abut why Rossi faded toward the end of the race. Perhaps he used up his tires too early ? I don't think Rossi lacked the desire to finish closer to the front, but I do think Rossi doesn't want to get hurt at this point in the season, so perhaps he rode within the limits of his tires at that stage of the race. Second place in the championship is at stake and missing one race would put an end to that for Rossi or the other contenders for second place.

The performance of Bautista seems to indicate the Ducati is a bike which can work well in the hands of more riders than was the case with the Ducati of the past. What Ducati has accomplished is impressive. I don't think it is accurate to view Ducati as a financial underdog, because Ducati does have the backing of VAG, which is the largest car company in the world, and which has plenty of cash and resources like wind tunnels. I imagine VAG is more than happy to lend its engineering expertise to Ducati.

I wish the championship had gone to the wire so it would be decided in Valencia, but we're in the era of Marquez dominance and I don't see that fading for a while unless Marquez gets hurt. 

Lastly, I was sorry to see Crutchlow get hurt, but the conditions on track on that day made it obvious someone was going to get hurt. It's a shame the race cannot be held at a time of year which would raise the odds of track temperatures being more favorable.

 

 

 

Bautista is an underrated rider, and its a shame he's being bounced from the paddock.  Hopefully he's successful in WSBK.  Quite a few protagonists were missing - Crutchlow, Zarco, Marquez - so I wonder if he would've been running in podium places if they were there.  Regardless, he ran the pace, so massive kudos to him.  Does anyone know what his gearbox problem was?

Its hard to believe that no so long ago the Ducati was a mercurial career-killing monster.  The GP18 looks like the best bike on the grid.  Its now affable enough that a talented rider can throw a leg over it and run up front.  Its not hard to imagine Lorenzo winning that race.  Petrucci may've been able to do something had he not screwed up so early. 

Iannone seemed to make some critical mistakes when he was in a prime position. He ran wide and lost places several times.  I really thought he had a good chance to win, but he kept eliminating himself.  Vinales didn't put a wheel wrong.  Great race - Dorna and Michelin have combined to usher in the best MotoGP racing in years.

He did a great job from whichever angle you want to run it. Ducati got up to the pointy end at PI by proceedings closure. Ifs and buts. Had Marc and Zarco not enjoyed a racing incident which it clearly was and had Petrux not lost about 20 odd seconds due to dirt and grass tracking after lap one I think it may have been way tighter for the win, probably going Marc's way again. Fair play to Maverick, he executed a perfect race once he was granted the gap by virtue of the squabbles between the protaganists in the battle for second. Bautista was my rider of the day. He got drafted onto the factory bike, had a bunch of crashes during the weekend, had to get through Q1. Then had the temerity in the race to finish a very solid fourth. His result does not make the Ducati the best bike by a country mile. Rather, like his team mate at the event, Dovi, Alvaro is just extremely adaptable to any bike in any situation. Few teams have appreciated it and acknowledged it. There is no way he suddenly dialled in someone else's GP18 settings and the bike was on autopilot. He had to figure it out for himself bloody quickly and took a bunch of lumps and bumps in the process. I'd like to see him on the bike in Sepang again...give Jorge a recuperation break before Valencia. No point in Jorge doing Sepang either. Dovi is a serial killer of team mates given equal backing and tools within said team. Last hoorah for Jorge at Valencia with Ducati would be a nice scenario for me anyway. Back to Alvaro. For sure he knows D16 L4. He will no doubt shake up WSBK if the 1000cc homologation special L-4 hits the ground running come 2019.